Meet Sabrina Castiglione, COO at UK Payroll Technology Company: Pento


Since the company was founded in 2017, Pento has emerged as a leader in the UK payroll software category. Today, over 500 companies use the platform to simplify and streamline their processes around generating payslips, transmitting reports to governmental bodies, and issuing payments to employees.

Older payroll tools were made for accounting firms and involved a staggering amount of data entry. Pento, on the other hand, is a prime example of how companies can use a simple, intuitive web app to integrate with HR systems, financial bookkeeping systems, payment systems and other third parties, making it easy to automate processes.

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Why Do You Think Automated Workflows Are So Important To Today’s Payroll Operations?

As a COO with a CFO background, even before joining Pento I’ve experienced first hand how painful and harmful to one’s business it can be to not have interconnected, automated tools supporting your operations.

When you’re growing and efficient and resilient business is top of mind, you quickly come to grips with the fact that unless you invest in strong (but not overly complex) foundations, you’ll be facing information silos, data discrepancies, and a lack of real time visibility, in record time.

It’s easy to see how the inefficiencies stemming from disconnected tools and manual processes can be detrimental to your company’s growth. Inaccurate or delayed financial reporting caused by poor bookkeeping, can hinder strategic planning and forecasting.

Repetitive and time-consuming tasks, caused by lack of automation, decrease overall productivity as well as increase the risk of errors, which will end up impacting your team, customers and ultimately profits.

Joining Pento last spring reinforced my (already ironclad) belief. Payroll specifically sits at the intersection of your business operations and your employee’s experience, and these are two things you want to nail, to help ensure your product, and profits, follow.

The biggest pain point when it comes to running payroll is ensuring you don’t duplicate efforts, loose data along the way or, God forbid make a costly mistake, losing your employees’ trust along the way.

Traditional payroll solutions often rely on these manual processes, which are not only time-consuming but also prone to such errors: spreadsheets, infinite email chains and reliance on third parties who do not understand your business, are a recipe for disaster.

By relying on 21st century payroll software, we can automate workflows, streamlining and simplifying payroll operations, gathering the most up to date information from the right sources without even having to click a button to send an email.

This alongside the real-time visibility that in-house software provides into payroll activities, enables proactive decision-making and empowers finance and people teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. Bottom line, this is what business leaders want, and compromising means losing time and money.


What Are Some Examples Of Automations That People Might Not Realize Are Possible?

The beauty of building software like Pento)is that we are always looking to make wishes, reality. The main problem is that many people, finance and payroll professionals today still don’t realise what you could wish for, or even that you could use software like Pento to run payroll.

The antiquated and traditional way of thinking about payroll involves an accountant, a (or multiple) spreadsheet(s), infinite email back and forth, stern deadlines, BACS files, in the best cases, or just PDFs and manual bank transfers, in the most common of realities.

Most people have grown numb to the pain, and they’ve settled for this monthly process that is holding them back from focusing on the true changes they could be making for their business. We are always amazed by the “aha” moment and realisation in our customer’s eyes when we show them what Pento could do for them.

One of the most common misconceptions, is that automating payroll just means automating calculations and perhaps reporting to HMRC. The scope and configurations are far more vast.

Integrations are the most sought after and unambiguous automations, HRIS and accounting systems hold and rely on payroll data, and having systems that truly talk to each other eliminates the need for manual data entry, ensuring accurate and seamless transfers of data.

New starters and leavers, their holiday payouts, changes in salaries, no longer need to be copy-pasted over from one place to another. Salaries, employer and pension contributions, everything can be coded correctly and allocated to the right cost centre, every time, without failure.

Similarly, integrations with pension providers provide the above, as well as peace of heart when it comes to ensuring compliance with pension regulations and reporting requirements. Long gone are the days when calendar reminders had to be set to re-enrol your employees or reassess their eligibility.

Automated bank transfers are also game changers for many of our customers. With traditional providers and solutions, companies are limited to their accountants’ office hours or their banks payment deadlines, but with Pento, we’re giving control back into the hands of our customers.

Automating payroll payments enables our customers to make changes up until the day of payroll, without compromising their ability to pay their employees on time.

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What Makes Your Company Different From The Other Payroll Software Vendors Available Today?

Most companies in UK still deal with payroll by outsourcing it to agencies, accountants or payroll bureaus. Some companies use outdated software providers that are often nothing more than just a simple user interface on top of a process that is very similar to outsourcing.

With those legacy providers you have to go through a myriad of spreadsheets and back and forth emails to get (what should be) basic payroll information right. It’s prone to errors and honestly just a waste of time.

The cut-off date for payroll in those solutions is often weeks before the pay date, limiting your ability to make changes. With Pento, you can not only run payroll faster, but it also gives you flexibility to make changes until payday. Since there is less manual work, it’s also less error prone.

Finally, our customer service is second to none, with a dedicated team of qualified payroll experts available to answer any questions.

What Kinds Of Platform Integrations Are Most Impactful To HR Teams In The UK, And Why?

When we talk to customers, it’s clear that operational efficiency and designing a thoughtful employee experience are top objectives for them. Data accuracy and ensuring the most efficient capture and flow of information is key, as well as ease of use and benefit to the team.

Pento integrates with your HR system and your pension provider, ensuring that flow of information in and then out. Everyone is attempting to mitigate human error and the use of additional spreadsheets, so accurately mapping these key workflows and building this directly into the product has unlocked the incredible time saving and efficiency gains that our customers are aiming for.

How Has Pento Changed Most Over The Last Couple Of Years?

Thinking about this from an internal company perspective, a lot of our energy goes into building strong foundations and iterating as we go.

This is true when it comes to refining how we operate as a remote-first organization, to speedier decision making, and transparent progression frameworks for our team. We’re also very conscious of not being our own blocker, and we change something when it’s not working for us.

We have to be careful of incurring too much change fatigue, but the team joined a business at this stage for a reason, and it’s a joy to embrace not always having it all figured out.

What Can We Hope To See From Pento In The Future?

Our vision is to make payroll effortless, and that hasn’t changed. We are always listening to the market and what the needs of our customers are, as we cannot live in a vacuum. what we may have thought was right in 2020, cannot dictate what is right today, and same thing goes for tomorrow.

Our customer’s needs have evolved, their priorities shifted, but what hasn’t changed, what I can constantly refer back to is what we are aiming for, as our north star. We are committed to radically improve what it means to pay your employees, and our dedication to innovation will continue to shape the future of our platform.

We’ll continue to invest in building the best payroll experience. We hope that one day, our customers won’t even have to think about payroll, as Pento will automatically, and accurately, do everything for them, every single time. To build the best payroll solution, we know we also need the best team. Hence, we’ll continue scaling our talented team.